TV Host Transforms Apartment into Smart Home
"The Ben Heck Show" morphs average products into time-saving solutions.
July 25, 2011 by Rachel Cericola

Who the heck is Ben Heck? We’re not entirely sure, but he wants to show you how to transform your home into a smart home.

Heck actually has a show called (what else?) “The Ben Heck Show,” which can be found on the website element14. It’s here that Heck “morphs average household products into time-saving and convenient solutions.”

In the latest episode, Heck is handling one of our favorite topics: home automation.

Using a Parallax Spinneret Web Server development board, a propeller microcontroller, and an Ethernet cable, Heck was able to fashion a web app that buzzes open his door via an Android-powered smartphone.

That’s not the only home control trick that Heck has up his sleeve. The episode also shows viewers how to add a little automation to a standard home thermostat. Using a stepper motor, the built-in Real-Time-Clock (RTC) in the Parallax Spinneret Web Server, and a makeshift timing belt made from a microphone wire, Heck can pre-set temperature at programmed times of the day.

“It would be awesome to live in a fully-automated robo-home straight out of a science fiction movie, and not have to worry about those tedious tasks like waiting for a package to be delivered,” said Heck. “But since that’s a little out of reach for most people, I’ve come up with a few simple tricks that can help turn your humble abode into an automated, intelligent oasis.”

Check out the Home Automation episode below, or visit element14 to challenge Ben with a future build. “The Ben Heck Show” is a bi-weekly online TV series, only available on element14.

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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